Recently, there are two studies I’d like to talk about that confirm what I’ve been saying on this blog for almost two years:
1. Fats are NOT the enemy, they are your friend.
2. Carbs are NOT your friend, they are the enemy!
Recent studies just published back up what many functional medicine practitioners and “Wheat Belly” Author Dr. William Davis have been saying: CARBS are the enemy. Carbs are what cause your insulin levels to go up, your blood sugars to rise, your hunger to increase, your triglycerides and cholesterol to rise and they put all of us at risk for Type 2 Diabetes, they make Type 1 Diabetics worse, and they contribute to AGING, BRAIN FOG and cardiac disease.
Here’s two examples of what I mean by the opposite:
1. Multi-grain toast – good? NO, BAD!
- Nutritionists established DECADES ago that wheat increases blood sugar more profoundly THAN TABLE SUGAR. Glycemic Index, the index that measures how our bodies respond to a food item (and this is more important than you realize: it is precisely HOW YOUR BODY RESPONDS TO A FOOD that determines whether or not you gain weight. The glycemic Index of whole wheat bread is 72, while the glycemic index of table sugar is 59!
- Compare either of those to salmon, walnuts or other foods that have a GI of essentially ZERO. Which food do you think raises your blood sugar? So which foods should you eat?
- Our American culture makes one major HUGE mistake at breakfast. We eat no protein (or very little) and a lot of carbs. Guess what? You’re better off having scrambled eggs! It is ok to eat whole wheat bread on occasion (although I try not to EVER eat mass produced bread), but you SHOULD eat a protein for breakfast every single day. Protein increases your metabolic rate and decreases appetite!
2. Coconut oil: often thought BAD because it is a saturated fat, it is a GOOD saturated fat! Why? Here’s 8 reasons
- Coconut Oil gives you energy. It is a Medium Chain Triglycerides which turn into ketone bodies as they are digested, increasing energy and having a therapuetic effect on epileptic patients and Alzheimers patients.
- Coconut Oil Can Help You Lose Fat, Especially The Dangerous Fat in Your Abdominal Cavity. Given that coconut oil can reduce appetite and increase fat burning, it makes sense that it can also help you lose weight. Coconut oil appears to be especially effective in reducing abdominal fat, which lodges in the abdominal cavity and around organs, and is associated with a higher mortality than fat in other body areas. Populations That Eat a LOT of Coconut have a low mortality rate (lower than the US!) In some countries, coconut is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for many generations. The best example of such a population is the Tokelauans, which live in the South Pacific. They eat over 60% of their calories from coconuts and are the biggest consumers of saturated fat in the world. These people are in excellent health, with no evidence of heart disease. In fact, wellness author JJ Virgin lists it in her top FIVE foods to rev up your metabolism! The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase 24 hour energy expenditure by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss over the long term.
- The Lauric Acid in Coconut Oil Can Kill Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi, Helping to Stave Off Infections. Almost 50% of the acid in coconut oil is Lauric Acid. When coconut oil is digested, it forms monolaurin. Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi. Of special interest is that it can kill candida Albicans, a source of yeast infections in humans.
- Coconut Oil Can Kill Your Hunger. One interesting feature of coconut oil is that it can reduce your hunger. This may be related to the way the fatty acids in it are metabolized, because ketone bodies can have an appetite reducing effect.
- Coconut Oil Can Improve Blood Cholesterol Levels and May Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease. Coconut oil is loaded with saturated fats, which actually do not harm the blood lipid profile like previously thought. Saturated fats raise HDL (the good) cholesterol and change the LDL cholesterol to a benign subtype.
- Coconut Oil Can Protect Hair Against Damage, Moisturize Skin. Coconut oil can serve various purposes that have nothing to do with eating it. Many people are using it for cosmetic purposes and to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair. Studies on individuals with dry skin show that coconut oil can improve the moisture and lipid content of the skin. Coconut oil can also be very protective against hair damage and one study shows effectiveness as sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
- The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Can Boost Brain Function in Alzheimer’s Patients — Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia worldwide and occurs primarily in elderly individuals. In Alzheimer’s patients, there appears to be a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain. Ketone bodies can supply energy for the brain and researchers have speculated that ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning cells and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s. In one 2006 study, consumption of medium chain triglycerides led to immediate improvement in brain function in patients with milder forms of Alzheimer’s.
- Helps Vitamin absorption. A, D, E and K do not get absorbed without the presence of fat. They are actually called the fat soluble vitamins. If you greatly restrict the fat in your diet, you will put yourself at risk for deficiencies in these major four vitamins.
These are just two specific examples of why you need to eat a higher fat diet with more protein. Get your carbs from veggies and fruits (limited fruit if you’re trying to lose weight). Want to know which fats are good? Here’s a list:
Avocados, Nuts, Fatty Fish like Salmon, Eggs, Coconut and Olive Oils, Pasture Butter (butter made by cows fed 100% grass, their natural diet) and Olives.
The newest research sites Insulin Index. The Insulin Index is a measure used to quantify the typical insulin response to various foods. The index is similar to the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load, but rather than relying on blood glucose levels, the Insulin Index is based upon blood insulin levels. This measure can be more useful than either the Glycemic Index or the Glycemic Load because certain foods cause an insulin response despite there being no carbohydrates present, and some foods cause a disproportionate insulin response relative to their carbohydrate load. Stay tuned, as the research comes out, I will try and post links to it!
When people ask me how I manage to eat low carb, it really is simple. Baby steps. First stop eating bread. Consider using alternative pastas made with beans instead of flour. Stop using wheat. Have a salad at lunch. STOP DRINKING MILK. If you have carbs, try and have them WITH a protein, and some fats. NEVER eat carbs alone. Watch your alcohol intake (esp. beer), try and make more than one vegetable dish for dinner (salad and hot vegetable, grilled multiple vegetables, etc.). Baby steps.
Links to the studies I speak about and further research:
Want to see the actual research on coconut? Here’s a good article: http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/